How Many?

people 3d

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 23 – 24 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 1 – 2Proverbs 15Psalms 71 – 75

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 55:17

Read the “0415 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.” – (2 Samuel 24:1)

“And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.” (1 Chronicles 21:1)

“And David spake unto the LORD when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said, Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father’s house.” – (2 Samuel 24:17)

This is one of those passages of Scripture that I have a difficult time understanding. The Scripture clearly says in verse 1 (above) that God moved David against Israel; but then in verse 17, David confesses what he had done against Israel to the Lord as sin. Here we have another example of the sovereignty of God in conjunction with the free will of man. To complicate matters even more, look at what it says in 1 Chronicles 21 about the same event: the blame here is placed upon Satan. In our passage today it certainly looks as if God was forcing David to sin against Him, which in turn brings about the wrath of God upon the people of Israel.  What is going on here? Did God command it, or did Satan tempt David to do it? I believe that it was in David’s heart to number the people long before the actual numbering took place. Man’s heart is desperately wicked. There are all kinds of sins inside of it. The idea to number the people originated with Satan, because he wanted to get David to take his eyes off of God, and instead trust in his military strength. I think that God kept David from fulfilling what was in his heart for a while, but then because of His anger at Israel (and David), He eventually allows it. I believe the same thing happened with Pharaoh of Egypt. The Scripture says that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, but it also says that Pharaoh’s heart was already hardened. I don’t think that God caused Pharaoh to hate Israel. He already did. God finally just removed the restraint that was keeping Pharaoh back. Satan is on a leash too. He can only do what God allows him to do.

This brings me to an application of this principle in our lives. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit of God is the restraining power that keeps all evil from breaking loose on the earth. The bottom line in all of this is that Satan will tempt you to sin, but God will not cause you to sin; but He will allow you to sin, and allow you to be tempted. However, I also believe that there are many times when He keeps us from sinning against Him through His indwelling Holy Spirit.

“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” – (James 1:13-14)

By the way. You may be wondering why God would be against the numbering of the people. The reason is simple. He did not want Israel trusting in their numbers. He wanted them to trust in Him. They could beat any opposing army out there, regardless of size, as long as they were right with God.


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Bittersweet

Bittersweet

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 18 – 19 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

Second Milers also read – Matthew 25 – 26Psalms 61 – 65Proverbs 13

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 47:1

Read the “0413 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people: for the people heard say that day how the king was grieved for his son.” – (2 Samuel 19:2)

This was a “no win” situation for David. David won the nation back, but lost his son. After his son Absalom rebelled against David, and forced him to flee from Jerusalem with all of his men, David had to do something. Absalom certainly wanted to see his father dead; but David, however, wanted somehow to undo the damage that Absalom had done to the nation, and still keep him as a son. He asked his men in the final battle to “deal gently… with the young man”, which they did not do. The men were right. Absalom had to die. David should have realized that. I can understand, though, how David felt. He did not blame Absalom for the way he turned out. I think David blamed himself. And even though David and his men won the victory and got the kingdom back, he still wished that he could go back and re-do some things  with his son Absalom.

I can relate to that. I wish that I could go back and re-do some things with my family as well. I know one thing that I would change is  that I would give each one of them a little more of my time. Instead of consuming my life with my goals and ambitions, I would give a little more of myself to helping them reach theirs. David ignored his son Absalom for a long time, and now he wished that he had the opportunity to give him his attention. The rebellion of Absalom grew with every passing day that his father neglected him. Most of my children are grown now, but I am trying to spend more time with them even now. I cannot re-claim what I missed, but I can make the most of what I have left. I do have one daughter, Hannah, who is young and still at home. I am doing things differently with her. If you still have children to influence, I encourage you to take every opportunity to do it. I bet you if David was to do it all over again, he would trade some of his successes as king for a good relationship with his children.


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I Smell A Rat

rat

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 15 – 17 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 23 – 24Proverbs 12Psalms 56 – 60 

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 48:1 & 2

Read a previous post from this passage – “Let Him Curse

Read the “0412 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee. Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!” – (2 Samuel 15:3-4)

In today’s reading, we see the gradual rise to power of Absalom, David’s son. Absalom has developed into a calculating, sneaky, and conspiring rebel, who slowly stole the hearts of the people of Israel away from their God chosen leader. In the verses above, he is standing in the gate, and pulling people aside before they go into the king. He befriends them, and promises them that if he were the king things would be different; things would be better. No doubt, he is bad-mouthing the king to everyone who would listen. Absalom is a snake; a rat. He has done nothing on his own; he has built nothing, conquered nothing. Instead, he is a destroyer, and a stealer of that which belongs to another man.

I have observed people like this throughout the years. They steal wives away from husbands; they steal the hearts of children away from fathers; they steal churches away from pastors. They tell the wife who may be having some struggles in her marriage that if he were her husband, he would never mistreat her. They do the same to church members. They want people to come to them. They usually use flattery. They always tear down God-ordained authority. Beware of the Absalom’s of life. God is never for them. Even when it looks like they have all the right answers, you need to stay faithful to the Lord and be supportive of the leaders that God has given you.


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Amnon Had A Friend

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 12 – 14 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 21 – 22; Proverbs 11; Psalms 51 – 55)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 47:1

Read the “0411 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “The Consequences of Sin”

“But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man.” (2 Samuel 13:3)

This is another tragic story in the Bible of a man who blew it because he allowed someone into his life that influenced him away from the will of God.  Amnon was one of David’s sons, and he was in love with his half sister, Tamar.   Whether or not this was a wholesome attraction is a matter for another debate.  Nevertheless, Amnon didn’t know what to do about it, but he had a “friend” that did.  This friend, however, was not the kind of friend your parents would like for you to run with.  This was a sneaky guy (subtil).  This was the kind of guy that acts like an “A” honor roll student when he is around your folks; but when he has you alone he is bringing out dirty magazines and dope.  Amnon’s “good friend”, Jonadab, convinces Amnon to trick the king into bringing his daughter Tamar into the lair of Amnon.  Unfortunately, as a result of this counselor’s advice, Amnon eventually ends up dead because of what he does to Tamar.

There are two applications that we can make here:

1  Jonadab is like the devil.  He is a liar, and a deciever; and he will always try to seduce you into going against the will of God.  Notice how Jonadab just convinces Amnon to do what he already wants to do.  He just had to give him a little nudge.  Satan know your temptations, and he throws them in front of you, nudging you to yield to them.  And he always plays both sides.  Notice later on in the chapter how Jonadab is defending the guy who kills Amnon (vs. 32 – 35)  The devils convinces you to sin and then he accuses you to God.

2  But Jonadab is also a type of some of the friends that you and I might have in our life.  And we know who they are.  They are the people who are not concerned about the will of God; they live for themselves, and they are always trying to get you to join them.  Identify the Jonadabs in your life, and remove them.  Surround yourself with people who will tell you to do what’s right, which is what a true friend does.


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Be In Your Place

 

Be in Your Place

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 8 – 11 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 19 – 20Proverbs 10Psalms 46 – 50

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 34:6

Read the “0410 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem. And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.” (2 Samuel 11:1-2)

This morning I want to pass along a very simple but important truth. In our passage today, in chapter 11, we read about the very familiar yet tragic story of David and Bathsheba. David is out on his rooftop and from his vantage point spots a beautiful woman who is bathing. David, who already has a few wives, sends a servant to bring the woman to him so he can sleep with her, but the woman is married. David takes the woman anyway, and ends up adding murder to his sin of adultery because he has her husband sentenced to death by placing him on the front lines of Israel’s war with the Ammonites. There is more to the story, but I have covered enough here to deliver my point.

We would all agree that adultery and murder are two very serious sins that were both punishable by death according to the Old Testament Law, but I would like to point out here that the sin precipitated these was David’s sin of not being where he was supposed to be. David was the king, and should have been fighting the battle with his men, but instead, he was home relaxing on his rooftop. Had David been leading his army in battle, this adultery and murder would have never taken place.

I find that we often get ourselves into trouble by not being where we should be. Did you know that there is a specific place where God wants you to be at any given moment? For instance, God has a time and a place where He wants you to meet with Him in devotion (Bible reading and prayer), and we need to be very careful to keep that appointment. There is also a time and a place when we need to be with other Christians, gathered in fellowship around the preaching and teaching of the Word of God. We also need to be busy at the place of our employment. These are just examples. We all have different responsibilities with different schedules, but we all have a specific place where we need to be at any given time, and being where we need to be will help us to be what we need to be and to do what we should be doing. Just a thought.


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Stay in the City of Refuge

www-st-takla-org-the-city-of-refuge

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 15 – 16Proverbs 8Psalms 36 – 40

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 25

Read the “0408 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And when Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him quietly, and smote him there under the fifth rib, that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother.” – (2 Samuel 3:27)

These first few chapters of the Book of 2 Samuel make for some exciting reading, as well as for some valuable truth. In our verse above, we see the murder of Abner by Joab and Abishai his brother. To fully understand what is happening here, there is an underlying principle that we must learn, as well as some additional background information.

First let me give you the principle. The city where this killing took place was Hebron, which was known as a City of Refuge. You can read all about the cities of refuge in the Book of Numbers 35:9 – 34; and Joshua 20. In a nutshell, though, a city of refuge was a place where somebody could flee to for safety. You see, the law in Israel stated that if you killed somebody in wartime, or if you unintentionally killed somebody (not for cases of pre-meditated murder) that the family of the dead person could avenge the blood of their relative without any legal action being taken against them. If the person who committed the “manslaughter” could get inside the city of refuge, then he would be granted safety and refuge as long as he remained in the city; but if he was to leave the city at any time, he was fair game for the revengers of blood.

Now let’s look at the background to this story. Chapter two tells us that Joab and Abishai had a brother named Asahel that was killed by Abner during a previous battle. Naturally, Joab and Abishai had never forgotten what Abner did to their brother, and even though the act was committed during a time of war, they wanted Abner to pay for their brother’s death. The problem was, however, that they had to get him outside the gate of the city. Notice our text tells us that Joab pulls him aside, in the gate, to speak with him quietly (privately).  But why would Abner willingly leave the protection of the city in order to speak with a man that wanted him dead? Because Joab had deceived him into thinking that he meant no harm. As soon as he gets him outside, however, he kills him.

Now let’s make application. The city of refuge is a picture of the will of God; and Joab is a picture of the devil. The devil cannot touch us directly as long as we are inside the walls of the will of God, so what he does is try to lure us out of the city so that he can kill our ministry for the Lord. The moral to the story is: stay inside the city. Don’t stray from God’s perfect will for your life. Don’t let Satan convince you that life will be better outside of the walls of the city. Stay in the Word of God; stay in the prayer closet; stay in church; stay out soul winning; stay separated. Stay in the City!


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One To Care And One To Curse – The Saturday Morning Post

Son_Of_Encouragement

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 15 – 17 (Click on the references to listen to the audio –Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 23 – 24; Proverbs 12; Psalms 56 – 60)

Scripture Memorization for April –  Verses I commonly use when sharing the gospel.

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 48:1 & 2

Read a previous post from this passage – “Let Him Curse

Read the “0412 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And when David was a little past the top of the hill, behold, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of asses saddled, and upon them two hundred loaves of bread, and an hundred bunches of raisins, and an hundred of summer fruits, and a bottle of wine. And the king said unto Ziba, What meanest thou by these? And Ziba said, The asses be for the king’s household to ride on; and the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat; and the wine, that such as be faint in the wilderness may drink.” (2Samuel 16:1-2)

“And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came. And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man.” (2Samuel 16:5-8)

Good morning. Two different kinds of people come to king David at the beginning of 2Samuel 16: one to care and one to curse: one to build up and one to tare down: one to encourage and one to discourage: one to edify and one to destroy. God’s Word teaches us to try and restore those who have fallen, but many will kick a person when He’s down.

“Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.” (Proverbs 12:25)

How hard could it be to speak a “good word” and encourage someone. These days: hard. In the second miler readings, in Matthew 24, Jesus talks about the love of many shall become cold…

“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matthew 24:3-12)

We may have to encourage ourselves as David did…

“And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” (1Samuel 30:6)

Didn’t anyone realize that the Amalekites had taken David’s wives also, and that he was hurting as much as his men were? They should be comforting each other, but they talked of stoning David.

In a world where a child can’t pray in school for his or hers food: a world where sexual perverseness and hatred is running rampant: a world where it’s okay to say allah, buddha, and not Jesus Christ (unless it’s being taken in vain) the love of many will wax cold… but be encouraged… and be a Ziba, not a Shimei.

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1Theselonians 4:13-18)

“We’ve been told:
God’s done warned us:
Jesus is coming soon.”
(Blind Willie Johnson 1897-1945: Jesus Is Coming Soon)

Peace. (Revelation 22:20-21)


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God Doesn’t Forget

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 20 – 22 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 27 – 28Proverbs 14Psalms 66 – 70

Scripture Memorization for March – John 1:1 – 18

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 51

Read a great article by Pastor Cary Schmidt – The Dangers of Depletion

Read the “0414 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.” (2 Samuel 21:1)

Remember back in 1 Samuel when King Saul was mad at the priests because they had helped David. (See 1 Samuel 21 & 22) Saul ended up killing all of the priests (85 of them) and then proceeded to wipe out Nob, the city that the priests lived in.  What Saul did to the priests and to their families was bad enough; but there was also a group of people who lived in Nob as servants to the priests who were not Israelites:  they were Gibeonites.  Now you may also remember from the book of Joshua that the Gibeonites were the people who tricked Joshua into making a covenant with them.  Joshua promised these people with an oath that Israel would let them live, and in return the Gibeonites would be Israel’s servants.  God never forgot that covenant, so when Saul (acting on behalf of Israel) broke the covenant and slew the Gibeonites living in Nob; God held them (Israel – not just Saul) accountable.  God doesn’t forget, even when we want to.  Here an entire nation is suffering for the decision of one man.

We should be admonished when we read passages like this.  First of all, we should realize that our actions affect more people than we think; and we should carefully consider the outcome on others around us from the decisions we make  today as well as the impact they will have on future generations.  Secondly, we need to think about any unfinished business we may have with God or other people.  We are so quick to promise things; but so slow to deliver the things that we promise.  God never forgot the promise that Israel made with the Gibeonites.

Note – A separate thought from this passage of Scripture.  Notice in 21:8 that five of  the ”sons of Saul” (actually grandsons) that were to be killed were the sons of Michal, David’s first wife.  Michal had lived a troubled life due to men who have used her for their own gain.  Saul promised her to David and reluctantly gives her to be his wife; later Saul took her back and gave her to another man; After Sauls death when David is in power he takes her back, away from a man that loves her;  and now here she is losing  her sons.


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The Consequences of Sin – Is it Worth It?

 

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 12 – 14

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 21 – 22; Proverbs 11; Psalms 51 – 55

 

“Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.” – (2 Samuel 12:10-11)

“And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.” – (2 Samuel 12:15)

I have to admit, that I wish passages like this were not in the Bible. In a perfect world, there would be no sin, and none of the pain and misery that come as a result of  sin. Passages like this remind us of God’s passionate hatred for sin. In chapter 11, we heard nothing from God until the very last verse of the chapter:

“…But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.”

Of course, the “thing” that David had done was actually more than one individual thing. It began with David’s not being where he was supposed to be. He was the king, and it was the time for king’s to go forth to war, but David was home taking it easy. Next thing he knows, he finds himself lusting after a woman (Bathsheba) that was another man’s wife. Soon he takes her, and she becomes pregnant. When he cannot conveniently cover that situation up, he eventually goes so low as to have the woman’s husband killed in battle so that he can take his wife for his own. As I said at the beginning, God does not say a word to David until he thought it was all over. But once God starts speaking, He doesn’t stop for a very long time. David would suffer much at the hand of God as a result of this “thing” that he did that displeased the Lord.

1  The baby that was born to Bathsheba dies.

2  His son Amnon rapes his sister Tamar. (Notice – another sin of lust)

3  His other son Absalom kills Amnon because of what he did to Tamar.

4  David alienates himself from Absalom.

5  Absalom rebels against David, causing David to have to flee Jerusalem.

6  Absalom sleeps with David’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.

7  Absalom is killed.

All of these sins can be traced back to the sin with Bathsheba. Don’t believe me? Look at verses 10 and 11 above again. Does God not say, “I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house”? I am not saying that God caused these people to do what they did. They did what they did because they are sinners, but I am saying, that God did not do anything to prevent all of this tragedy either. Why? Because God wants us to know how much He hates sin, and how much He wants us to stay away from it. We live in a time when sin seems to no longer be sin, but let me warn you that God has  never changed his mind on the subject. What are the consequences of sin? A lot of unnecessary pain and suffering for a lot of people. It’s just not worth it.


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Kindness

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 8 – 11 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 19 – 20Proverbs 10Psalm 46 – 50

Scripture Memorization for March – John 1:1 – 18

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 34:6

Read a previous post from this passage – “Bad Advice

Read the “0410 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.” – (2 Samuel 9:7)

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” – (Ephesians 4:32)

“But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” – (Luke 6:35)

In 2 Samuel 9, we have the story of Mephibosheth who was the grandson of Saul and the son of Jonathon, David’s friend. David had never forgotton the kindness that Jonathon had showed to David even when Jonathon’s father Saul was trying to chase David down and have him put to death. The friendship of David and Jonathon survived some very difficult days. Long after the death of Saul and Jonathon, David wanted to see if their were any descendants left from Jonathon’s house because he wanted to show kindness to them in honor of Jonathon. David finds out about Mephibosheth, a man wha had been injured when he was just a small boy, and as a result was “lame on his feet”. Mephibosheth was living a very humble existence in a place called Lodebar. He was no longer the son of a prince or the grandson of a king. David brings him and his house out of Lodebar, and restores to him all of the land that was once owned by Saul and Jonathon; and he gives Mephibosheth a place of honor at the king’s table for the rest of his life.

David’s kindness to Mephibosheth is a wonderful picture of the kindness that God expressed to us when he pulled us up out of our lost condition, and made us joint-heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ. We were certainly not deserving of any blessing from God, yet He reached down, plucked us up out of the fire, and gave us robes of rightousness. Why? Because He loves us, and love is kind.

We need to learn how to be kind one to another. Even among Christians there is a drought of kindness. I really believe if we were to learn how to better express the kindness of God to this fallen world, we would be a lot more effective at reaching them with the gospel.


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How Many?

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 23 – 24

Second Milers also read – Mark 1 – 2; Psalms 71 – 75; 13 Proverbs 15

The Scripture Memory passage for April – 1 Corinthians 13

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 48:1 & 2

“And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.” – (2 Samuel 24:1)

“And David spake unto the LORD when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said, Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father’s house.” – (2 Samuel 24:17)

This is one of those passages of Scripture that I have a difficult time understanding. The Scripture clearly says in verse 1 above that God moved David against Israel; but then in verse 17, David confesses what he had done against Israel to the Lord as sin. Here we have another example of the sovereignty of God in conjunction with the free will of man. In our passage today it certainly looks as if God was forcing David to sin against Him, which in turn brings about the wrath of God upon the people of Israel. However, I do not think this is what is happening here. I believe that it was in David’s heart to number the people long before the actual numbering took place. Man’s heart is desperately wicked. There are all kinds of sin inside of it. I believe that God kept David from fulfilling what was in his heart for a while, but then because of His anger at Israel (and David), He now allows it. I believe the same thing happened with Pharaoh of Egypt. The Scripture says that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, but it also says that Pharaoh’s heart was already hardened. I don’t think that God caused Pharaoh to hate Israel. He already did. God finally just removed the restraint that was keeping Pharaoh back. Satan is on a leash too. He can only do what God allows him to do.

This brings me to an application of this principle in our lives. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit of God is the restraining power that keeps all evil from breaking loose on the earth. The bottom line in all of this is that God will not cause you to sin; but He will allow you to sin. However, I also believe that there are many times when He keeps us from sinning against Him.

“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” – (James 1:13-14)

By the way. You may be wondering why God would be against the numbering of the people. The reason is simple. He did not want Israel trusting in their numbers. He wanted them to trust in Him. They could beat any opposing army out there, regardless of size, as long as they were right with God.


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Bittersweet

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 18 – 19

Second Milers also read – Matthew 25 – 26; Psalms 61 – 65; Proverbs 13

The Scripture memory passage for the month of April – 1 Corinthians 13

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 47:1

Read – “Concerns and Hopes for Young Preachers” by Pastor Paul Chappell

“And the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people: for the people heard say that day how the king was grieved for his son.” – (2 Samuel 19:2)

This was a “no win” situation for David. David won the nation back, but lost his son. After his son Absalom rebelled against David, and forced him to flee from Jerusalem with all of his men, David had to do something. Absalom certainly wanted to see his father dead; but David, however, wanted somehow to undo the damage that Absalom had done to the nation, and still keep him as a son. He asked his men in the final battle to “deal gently… with the young man”, which they did not do. The men were right. Absalom had to die. David should have realized that. I can understand, though, how David felt. He did not blame Absalom for the way he turned out. I think David blamed himself. And even though David and his men won the victory and got the kingdom back, he still wished that he could go back and re-do some things  with his son Absalom.

I can relate to that. I wish that I could go back and re-do some things with my family as well. I know one thing that I would change is  that I would give each one of them a little more of my time. Instead of consuming my life with my goals and ambitions, I would give a little more of myself to helping them reach theirs. David ignored his son Absalom for a long time, and now he wished that he had the opportunity to give him his attention. The rebellion of Absalom grew with every passing day that his father neglected him. Most of my children are grown now, but I am trying to spend more time with them even now. I cannot re-claim what I missed, but I can make the most of what I have left. I do have one daughter, Hannah, who is young and still at home. I am doing things differently with her. If you still have children to influence, I encourage you to take every opportunity to do it. I bet you if David was to do it all over again, he would trade some of his successes as king for a good relationship with his children.


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Let Him Curse

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 15 – 16; 2 Samuel 17

Second Milers also read – Matthew 23 – 24; Psalms 56 – 60; Proverbs 12

The Scripture memory passage for April – 1 Corinthians 13

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:6

“And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came. And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. … Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah unto the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head. And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so?” – (2 Samuel 16:5-6, 9-10)

This is certainly an exciting portion of Scripture. David and his men are fleeing the city of Jerusalem because of a rebellion led by his son, Absalom. David is at one of the lowest points of his life. He is especially upset because all of his troubles were caused by his own son. Can you imagine having a close family member turn against you like that? Absalom was trying to kill his father.

Right in the middle of all of this, as David is leaving Jerusalem, a man named Shimei begins to throw rocks, cast dust, and yell curses at David. This man was descendant of Saul, and had a beef against David because God had taken the kingdom from Saul, and had given it to David. Now David had an army of mighty men with him that would have loved nothing more than to silence Shimei, and permanently disable his rock-throwing career; but David will not let them. He believes that God had allowed this man to come along, and he wasn’t about to avenge himself because of this man. He figured that if God sent Shimei to curse him, then he had better leave him alone; and if God had not sent him, then God will take care of Shimei, in His time.

Look at some new testament Scriptures that deal with this subject of not retaliating:

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” – (Romans 12:19)

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” – (Matthew 5:38-39)

I have also experienced valleys in life where it seemed that everything was going wrong; and I have also had people come and attack me right in the middle of those already difficult days. The devil really knows how to kick a man when he is down. However, I can testify first hand, that God has a way of turning the tables. If you just hang in there long enough, and learn whatever it is that God is trying to teach you, then your adversaries will eventually be silenced. But, when you are under attack, the worst thing that you can do is attack back. Go to God like David did. David had some lessons to learn, and he learned them; and God eventually took care of Shimei, and all of the other evil men that were trying to hurt him.


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The Wages of Sin

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 12 – 14

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 21 – 22; Psalms 51 – 55; Proverbs 11)

Scripture Memory Passage for April – 1 Corinthians 13

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34

Read another post from this passage – “Amnon Had A Friend”

“Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.” – (2 Samuel 12:10-11)

“And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.” – (2 Samuel 12:15)

I have to admit, that I wish passages like this were not in the Bible. In a perfect world, there would be no sin, and none of the pain and misery that come as a result of  sin. Passages like this remind us of God’s passionate hatred for sin. In chapter 11, we heard nothing from God until the very last verse of the chapter:

“…But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.”

Of course, the “thing” that David had done was actually more than one individual thing. It began with David’s not being where he was supposed to be. He was the king, and it was the time for king’s to go forth to war, but David was home taking it easy. Next thing he knows, he finds himself lusting after a woman (Bathsheba) that was another man’s wife. Soon he takes her, and she becomes pregnant. When he cannot conveniently cover that situation up, he eventually goes so low as to have the woman’s husband killed in battle so that he can take his wife for his own. As I said at the beginning, God does not say a word to David until he thought it was all over. But once God starts speaking, He doesn’t stop for a very long time. David would suffer much at the hand of God as a result of this “thing” that he did that displeased the Lord.

1  The baby that was born to Bathsheba dies.

2  His son Amnon rapes his sister Tamar. (Notice – another sin of lust)

3  His other son Absalom kills Amnon because of what he did to Tamar.

4  David alienates himself from Absalom.

5  Absalom rebels against David, causing David to have to flee Jerusalem.

6  Absalom sleeps with David’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.

7  Absalom is killed.

All of these consequences can be traced back to the sin with Bathsheba. Don’t believe me? Look at verses 10 and 11 above again. Does God not say, “I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house”? I am not saying that God caused these people to do what they did. They did what they did because they are sinners, but I am saying, that God did not do anything to prevent all of this tragedy either. Why? Because God wants us to know how much He hates sin, and how much He wants us to stay away from it. We live in a time when sin seems to no longer be sin, but let me warn you that God has  never changed his mind on the subject. What are the consequences of sin? A lot of unnecessary pain and suffering for a lot of people. It’s just not worth it.


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Kindness

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 8 – 11

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 19 – 20; Psalms 46 – 50; Proverbs 10)

The Scripture memory passage for April – 1 Corinthians 13

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 25

Watch – Growth Points – Teamwork and Follow-up by Pastor Paul Chappell

“And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.” – (2 Samuel 9:7)

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” – (Ephesians 4:32)

“But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” – (Luke 6:35)

In 2 Samuel 9, we have the story of Mephibosheth who was the grandson of Saul and the son of Jonathon, David’s friend. David had never forgotton the kindness that Jonathon had showed to David even when Jonathon’s father Saul was trying to chase David down and have him put to death. The friendship of David and Jonathon survived some very difficult days. Long after the death of Saul and Jonathon, David wanted to see if their were any descendants left from Jonathon’s house because he wanted to show kindness to them in honor of Jonathon. David finds out about Mephibosheth, a man wha had been injured when he was just a small boy, and as a result was “lame on his feet”. Mephibosheth was living a very humble existence in a place called Lodebar. He was no longer the son of a prince or the grandson of a king. David brings him and his house out of Lodebar, and restores to him all of the land that was once owned by Saul and Jonathon; and he gives Mephibosheth a place of honor at the king’s table for the rest of his life.

David’s kindness to Mephibosheth is a wonderful picture of the kindness that God expressed to us when he pulled us up out of our lost condition, and made us joint-heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ. We were certainly not deserving of any blessing from God, yet He reached down, plucked us up out of the fire, and gave us robes of rightousness. Why? Because He loves us, and love is kind.

We need to learn how to be kind one to another. Even among Christians there is a drought of kindness. I really believe if we were to learn how to better express the kindness of God to this fallen world, we would be a lot more effective at reaching them with the gospel.


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You’d Better Check With God First!

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 4 – 7

Second Milers also read – Matthew 17 – 18; Psalms 41 – 45; Proverbs 9

The Scripture memory passage for April is 1 Corinthians 13

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 19

“And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee. And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying, Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?” – (2 Samuel 7:3-5)

In 2 Samuel 7, David comes to the prophet Nathan, and informs him of his desire to build a permanent dwelling place for the ark of the covenant. He wanted to build the temple. You will recall that up until this time the corporate worship of God took place in a portable tabernacle that God had designed for them while they wandered the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. But now it was time to build a permanent structure in the capital city – Jerusalem. It was a good thing that David wanted to do, and it was also good that he went to the man of God before he did it. The problem here is not with David, but with the prophet Nathan. He gave David the green light to “do all that [was] in [David’s] heart” before he checked with God. In other words, he spoke on behalf of God, but did not say what God wanted him to say. He spoke prematurely. As it turns out, God had other plans. He did not want David to build the temple. That job was going to go to David’s son, Solomon.

There is a great lesson to be learned here for us. Before we offer our advice on a matter, we ought to check with God first. How we go about doing that is a little bit different today than it was in David and Nathan’s day. In their time God would speak directly to the man of God. Today, however, we have to discern the will of God in the following way:

1  We first go to the Word of God – check to see what the Bible says about what you want to do. Just about every possible scenario is covered by Biblical principle. Let’s say for example that a young lady wanted to know if it was OK to get involved with a young man who is not a dedicated Christian. She coul look into the Word and see that it says that she is not to be “unequally yoked” together with an unbeliever. She would also see that the Scripture says that she can not “walk together” with someone whom she is not in agreement with. And there are many other passages of Scripture which would advise her against what she wants to do. The bottom line is that if the thing we want to do is in violation of sound Biblical principle, we should not do it.

2  We go to God in prayer. We ask God to reveal to us personally His will regarding the matter. I believe that if a person is really concerned about the will of God, He will direct them. When I was praying about where to serve God after Bible college, God revealed to me precisely that He wanted my family to serve Him here in Galloway, NJ.

3  We get advice. The Bible is clear that there is safety in a multitude of counselors. Find some people with godly wisdom that you can go to for counsel regarding your decision. Give them some time to pray first before they give you an answer.

Nathan should have put David on hold until he had a chance to find out what God wanted him to do.


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The City of Refuge

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 1 – 3

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 15 – 16; Psalms 36 – 40; Proverbs 8)

Scripture Memory for April – 1 Corinthians 13

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 18:3 & 46

“And when Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him quietly, and smote him there under the fifth rib, that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother.” – (2 Samuel 3:27)

These first few chapters of the Book of 2 Samuel make for some exciting reading, as well as for some valuable truth. In our verse above, we see the murder of Abner by Joab and Abishai his brother. To fully understand what is happening here, there is an underlying principle that we must learn, as well as some additional background information.

First let me give you the principle. The city where this killing took place was Hebron, which was known as a City of Refuge. You can read all about the cities of refuge in the Book of Numbers 35:9 – 34; and Joshua 20. In a nutshell, though, a city of refuge was a place where somebody could flee to for safety. You see, the law in Israel stated that if you killed somebody in wartime, or if you unintentionally killed somebody (not for cases of pre-meditated murder) that the family of the dead person could avenge the blood of their relative without any legal action being taken against them. If the person who committed the “manslaughter” could get inside the city of refuge, then he would be granted safety and refuge as long as he remained in the city; but if he was to leave the city at any time, he was fair game for the revengers of blood.

Now let’s look at the background to this story. Chapter two tells us that Joab and Abishai had a brother named Asahel that was killed by Abner during a previous battle. Naturally, Joab and Abishai had never forgotten what Abner did to their brother, and even though the act was committed during a time of war, they wanted Abner to pay for their brother’s death. The problem was, however, that they had to get him outside the gate of the city. Notice our text tells us that Joab pulls him aside, in the gate, to speak with him quietly (privately).  But why would Abner willingly leave the protection of the city in order to speak with a man that wanted him dead? Because Joab had deceived him into thinking that he meant no harm. As soon as he gets him outside, however, he kills him.

Now let’s make application. The city of refuge is a picture of the will of God; and Joab is a picture of the devil. The devil cannot touch us directly as long as we are inside the walls of the will of God, so what he does is try to lure us out of the city so that he can kill our ministry for the Lord. The moral to the story is: stay inside the city. Don’t stray from God’s perfect will for your life. Don’t let Satan convince you that life will be better outside of the walls of the city. Stay in the Word of God; stay in the prayer closet; stay in church; stay out soul winning; stay separated. Stay in the City!


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Was It David’s Fault, Or God’s?

Today’s Reading – 2 Samuel 23, 24; Proverbs 15

(Second Milers also read – Mark 1 – 2; Memorize 1 Corinthians 15:14 – 17)

“And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.” – (2 Samuel 24:1)

“And David spake unto the LORD when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said, Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father’s house.” – (2 Samuel 24:17)

This is one of those passages of Scripture that I have a difficult time understanding. The Scripture clearly says in verse 1 above that God moved David against Israel; but then in verse 17, David confesses what he had done against Israel to the Lord as sin. Here we have another example of the sovereignty of God in conjunction with the free will of man. In our passage today it certainly looks as if God was forcing David to sin against Him, which in turn bring about the wrath of God upon the people of Israel. However, I do not think this is what is happening here. I believe that it was in David’s heart to number the people long before the actual numbering took place. Man’s heart is desperately wicked. There is all kinds of sin inside of it. I believe that God kept David from fulfilling what was in his heart for a while, but then because of His anger at Israel (and David), He now allows it. I believe the same thing happened with Pharaoh of Egypt. The Scripture says that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, but it also says that Pharaoh’s heart was already hardened. I don’t think that God caused Pharaoh to hate Israel. He already did. God finally just removed the restraints that was keeping Pharaoh back. Satan is on a leash too. He can only do what God allows him to do.

This brings me to an application of this principle in our lives. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit of God is the restraining power that keeps all evil from breaking loose on the earth. The bottom line in all of this is that God will not cause you to sin; but He will allow you to sin. However, I also believe that there are many times when He keeps us from sinning against Him.

“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” – (James 1:13-14)

By the way. You may be wondering why God would be against the numbering of the people. The reason is simple. He did not want Israel trusting in their numbers. He wanted them to trust in Him. They could beat any opposing army out there, regardless of size, as long as they were right with God.


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Come Unto Who?

Today’s reading – 2 Samuel 15-17;Proverbs 12

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 23 – 24; Memorize 1 Corinthians 15:14 – 17)

“And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee. Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!” – (2 Samuel 15:3-4)

In today’s reading, we see the gradual rise to power of Absalom. David’s son. Absalom has developed into a calculating, sneaky, and conspiring rebel, who slowly stole the hearts of the people of Israel away from their God chosen leader. In the verses above, he is standing in the gate, and pulling people aside before they go into the king. He befriends them, and promises them that if he were the king things would be different; things would be better. No doubt, he is bad mouthing the king to everyone who would listen. Absalom is a snake; a rat. He has done nothing on his own; he has built nothing, conquered nothing. Instead, he is a destroyer, and a stealer of that which belongs to another man.

I have observed people like this throughout the years. They steal wives away from husbands; they steal the hearts of children away from fathers; they steal churches away from pastors. They tell the wife who may be having some struggles in her marriage that if he were her husband, he would never mistreat her. They do the same to church members. They want people to come to them. They usually use flattery. They always tear down God-ordained authority. Beware of the Absalom’s of life. God is never for them. Even when it looks like they have all the right answers, you need to stay faithful to the Lord and supportive of the leaders that God has given you.


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Bad Advice

Today’s Reading – 2 Samuel 8-11; Proverbs 10

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 19 – 20; Memorize 1 Corinthians 15:14 – 17)

I will resist the temptation this morning to discuss chapters 11 and 12 regarding David, Bathsheeba, and Urriah.  I have spoken much about these passages in times past; and I am sure that most of the people reading this are well familiar with that tragic period in David’s life.  Instead, I would like to focus on chapter 10.  David sincerely wants to shew a kindness to his neighbor to the east, Hanun, the King of the Ammonites.  Apparently Hanun’s father was a friend to David, and David wanted to continue the friendship through Hanun.

When David sends some of his servants into Ammon to see Hanun, no doubt bearing gifts and sending a message of comfort from David regarding the death of Hanun’s father, the advisors of Hanun are distrustful of David’s intentions; and convince the king that David is their enemy.  The Ammonites then do a stupid thing: they humiliate David’s men by shaving off half of their beards and making them go back to Israel naked.  Remember, at this time in history, Israel is the big kid on the block.  Now, because of his stupidity, and because of the bad advice he receives, Hanun is facing an all out war with David.

None of this had to happen.  Hanun acted impulsively because he had counselors around him feeding him with bad information.  We need to be careful about the people we allow in our lives.  We need to be careful about the influences in our lives.  Bad counsel leads to bad decisions.   Let’s surround ourself with balanced, godly people who will be careful to offer only biblically based and prayerful advice to us.

PS – One thought on chapter 11 (I couldn’t resist.)  Among all of the other things that helped cause David’s sin with Bathsheeba, I thought about his lack of accountability.  David had nobody close to him that could stand up and say, “David, what you are about to do is wrong, and I won’t let you do it, or get away with it.”  There were obviously people (servants, etc.) that knew what David was doing, yet nobody challenged him.  We need people around us who will stand for the truth even at the expense of going against us.


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Is There Safety In The City?

Today’s Passage – II Samuel 1-3; Proverbs 8

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 15 – 16; Memorize 1 Corinthians 1 – 4)

“And when Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him quietly, and smote him there under the fifth rib, that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother.” – (2 Samuel 3:27)

These first few chapters of the Book of 2 Samuel make for some exciting reading, as well as for some valuable truth. In our verse above, we see the murder of Abner by Joab and Abishai his brother. To fully understand what is happening here, there is an underlying principle that we must learn, as well as some additional background information.

First let me give you the principle. The city where this killing took place was Hebron, which was known as a City of Refuge. You can read all about the cities of refuge in the Book of Numbers 35:9 – 34; and Joshua 20. In a nutshell, though, a city of refuge was a place where somebody could flee to for safety. You see, the law in Israel stated that if you killed somebody in wartime, or if you unintentionally killed somebody (not for cases of pre-meditated murder) that the family of the dead person could avenge the blood of their relative without any legal action being taken against them. If the person who committed the “manslaughter” could get inside the city of refuge, then he would be granted safety and refuge as long as he remained in the city; but if he was to leave the city at any time, he was fair game for the revengers of blood.

Now let’s look at the background to this story. Chapter two tells us that Joab and Abishai had a brother named Asahel that was killed by Abner during a previous battle. Naturally, Joab and Abishai had never forgotten what Abner did to their brother, and even though the act was committed during a time of war, they wanted Abner to pay for their brother’s death. The problem was, however, that they had to get him outside the gate of the city. Notice our text tells us that Joab pulls him aside, in the gate, to speak with him quietly (privately).  But why would Abner willingly leave the protection of the city in order to speak with a man that wanted him dead? Because Joab had deceived him into thinking that he meant no harm. As soon as he gets him outside, however, he kills him.

Now let’s make application. The city of refuge is a picture of the will of God; and Joab is a picture of the devil. The devil cannot touch us directly as long as we are inside the walls of the will of God, so what he does is try to lure us out of the city so that he can kill our ministry for the Lord. The moral to the story is: stay inside the city. Don’t stray from God’s perfect will for your life. Don’t let Satan convince you that life will be better outside of the walls of the city. Stay in the Word of God; stay in the prayer closet; stay in church; stay out soul winning; stay separated. Stay in the City!


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